New era begins Friday with opening of UCCS Event Center

By Tom Hutton published January 6, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. â€" A new era for University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Athletics will begin Friday when the Mountain Lions play the first games in the new 1,250-seat UCCS Event Center.

The Mountain Lions will face Fort Lewis Friday and Adams State Saturday. Women's games both nights will begin at 6 p.m. with the men's games at approximately 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door. Advance tickets are available by calling 255-3602.

The 27,000 square foot Event Center, located adjacent to the old Lions' Den, features high-tech sound, lighting and high-speed data capability that will make it a multi-purpose facility with uses by intercollegiate athletics, large all-campus events, and conferences.

Athletic fans will notice new LED scoreboards, scrolling message score tables and improved seating, restrooms and concession areas. Also included are a large visitor's locker room, an official's locker room and a VIP area.

"I don't think I can overstate how important the new UCCS Events Center will be for the development of our athletics programs," said UCCS athletic director and women's basketball coach Stephen Kirkham. "It will positively impact us in many areas, particularly in local recruiting and alumni relations."

In addition to athletics, the Event Center will be used for large all-campus events such as convocation and will be available for rent by non-university entities.

This weekend's games will be a soft opening since some finish work remains. Official grand opening ceremonies, featuring UCCS and CU dignitaries, will take place Jan. 22 prior to games against Regis.

Grand opening ceremonies are scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 22. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are invited to attend. The ceremony will feature comments by CU Regent Steve Bosley, President Bruce Benson, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak and Student Government President Daniel Garcia. The UCCS Pep Band and cheerleaders will perform. A barbecue, featuring buffalo burgers and hamburgers seared with the UCCS Mountain Lion mascot is planned. For more information about the ceremonies, call 255-3210.

The $9 million center began in fall 2007 with a $2 million allocation from the Office of the President of the University of Colorado. Multiple revenue sources were used to fund the balance of the project.

Following other recent construction at UCCS, the Event Center will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for its energy efficiency and use of sustainable building practices.

The Event Centerâ€TMs opening eliminates the dubious distinction of UCCS athletics as having
the smallest venue in all of NCAA Division II.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 34 bachelor's degrees, 19 master's and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls about 8,500 students annually.

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